After opening the season by defeating West Ashley in a weather-shortened Viking Cup Tournament in Columbia, the Fort Mill girls soccer team continued its hot start by shutting out both of its opponents last week.
The Jackets defeated Byrnes 2-0, and shut out Chapin 2-0 in back-to-back home matches to improve to 3-0 on the season, a start Head Coach Vic Johnson was hoping for.
"We're not a juggernaut - we're not going to blow teams out," Johnson said. "What we will do is play soccer. Every time we step onto the pitch we're going to play the best possible soccer we can. If we play our best, most of the time it will work out. We're a good team."
Last Wednesday against Byrnes, ranked 13th in the state, Fort Mill came out a little flat and went into halftime with the game in a scoreless tie. The Lady Jackets came out of the break much more focused, however, and went on to win.
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"They really came together in the second half," Johnson said.
Junior Madison Paff opened the scoring with a goal in the opening minute of the second half and junior Taylor Parker added the second goal.
Friday against Chapin, a match played on a cold, misty evening, was the opposite, with both goals coming in the first half. Sophomores Ashton Wolfe and Kaitlyn Marr knocked in Fort Mill's goals.
"We've really been improving as the season goes on," Wolfe said. "We've been working a lot on our offense and we're starting to feel where each other are."
Wolfe said although this team is a lot different from last year's group, she thinks it has the chance to be a serious contender.
"We have a lot of heart. If we keep working, we could be even better than last year," she said.
On the other end of the field, goalkeeper Alexis McLaine and the Jackets' defense are having a strong season so far, putting up shutouts in all three games.
"Our four defenders and Alexis, what they have done well is not letting other teams have chances," Johnson said. "But when they do, when Alexis is called into duty, she does her job. It's a tough defense for teams to beat."
"The defense definitely helps out a lot. They're so fast and they work well under pressure," McLaine said. "And we can only get better."
As for three shutouts in three games:
"I'll just try and keep the streak going as long as I can," she said.
Absent from the Chapin match was Parker, who traveled to Las Vegas last weekend to participate in a Red Bull National League tournament with her Charlotte Soccer Club team.
She will be back with the Jackets this weekend, when they host the Fort Mill High School BB&T Women's Soccer Invitational at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill.
The three-day tournament will include 18 teams from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, including region opponents Nation Ford, Northwestern and Clover.